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TONI THORNE: Rachel the ‘transracial’


TONI THORNE: Rachel the ‘transracial’

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THE HASHTAG #AskRachel was trending on Twitter in reference to Rachel Dolezal.

Rachel Dolezal is now the former head of NAACP chapter in Spokane, Washington.

Scandal broke earlier this week when it was revealed that Dolezal is actually a white woman who identifies as black and posed as a black woman for many years.

Dolezal looks very much like a mixed race woman. Her curly hair and light brown skin would give most people the impression that she is of African descent.

The revelation that she is Caucasian by her parents, and their disclosure of a picture of Dolezal as a young Caucasian woman prompted a social media and cable news uproar.

The world has since tried to rationalise the concept of a person who has artificially constructed her racial identity.

Rachel Dolezal has manufactured herself into a person who appears to be of African descent. Many have dubbed her as “transracial”, while others have cried that “transracial” does not exist and should not bear the same recognition that the concept “transgender” has been given.

This was especially after Dolezal compared herself to Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce Jenner) in an interview.

Upon Dolezal’s comparison (I know, it is a lot for me to wrap my head around as well) the transgender community slammed Dolezal on the ground that race is a social concept in this era and can never be compared to one not feeling aligned with their assigned sex.

It would be interesting to know at what stage would someone be considered a transracial.

If a black woman bleaches her skin and changes her hair to the colour blonde, at what time does she become transracial and can identify as a white woman? It must be noted that Dolezal has altered her skin complexion and the colour and texture of her hair.

The irony is that many black people who slam black skin bleachers have not taken issue with Dolezal’s action but her deceit over the years. Not once have I officially seen Dolezal being described as a “self-hater”.  The crux of this entire concept of transracial is how we view race – whether we view race as a social or biological notion.

We are constantly being exposed to this “new world”. Just when we were getting acquainted with the concept of transgender, we are now being introduced to the concept of transracial!

Some are now claiming that it is now possible for someone to change his or her race. Someone can claim that he or she is trapped in the wrong race and this be justified?

‘Trans’ has to be the term for the year. We are seeing the emergence of many alternative lifestyles and choices. As a result, society will have its opinions.

My opinion is simple. I believe that any adult  on this earth is entitled to live his or her best life once it does not directly affect others. Adults must, in doing so, be prepared to live with the consequences of their actions.

There are certain elements which we cannot “flip-flop” on. Race is one. The most liberal of us will not judge Dolezal’s desire to be black partially. 

However, the most principled of us will take issue with the fact that if Dolezal sought to identify as a black woman, then her seeking to sue Howard University as a white woman in a discrimination suit a few years ago was unacceptable.

This is whether or not you are a transracial female who deceived an entire African American community, many of whom feel broken and bitter by your deceit.

Toni Thorne is a young entrepreneur and World Economic Forum Global Shaper who loves global youth culture, a great debate and living in paradise. Email [email protected]